What is Appointment Setting Over the Phone?

Appointment setting over the phone is a strategy for filling the sales pipeline with qualified leads. This is done by appointment setting representatives, often called sales development representatives (SDRs)

Appointment setting processes vary from one company to another. The general idea is that appointment setting representatives (SDRs) reach out to a list of prospects to generate interest and set a meeting with interested buyers.

Prospect lists can be generated from the company’s internal lead generation efforts or purchased from a vendor. These prospects are sometimes warm leads, which means they have shown interest in the company’s offering at one point, but they are often cold leads.

The first job of appointment setting reps or SDRs is to determine whether the prospect is a qualified lead or not. They do this by comparing their information with the company’s buyer persona. If prospects fit, SDRs will encourage them to book a sales appointment and pass them to the account executives (AEs), who will work on closing the deal. 

Benefits of Booking Sales Appointments Over the Phone

setting sales appointments over the phone 2024

Increase efficiency for Account Executives

Prospecting and qualifying leads is a time-consuming process. Countless hours go into gathering the necessary data to call each lead and see whether they fit the company’s buyer persona. Working both ends of the pipeline can overwhelm account executives, affecting their ability to close deals. By having a dedicated appointment setting representative, AEs can focus more on converting leads into customers. 

Improve lead quality

High-quality leads are more likely to be converted into paying customers. One way of achieving this is through lead qualification, which is the process of filtering good leads from bad ones. 

Boost brand authority

Appointment setting can boost brand authority because sales discovery calls are opportunities to showcase your brand’s professionalism to potential customers. It is also a chance to gain their trust and confidence by displaying expert knowledge about the industry and your company’s products.

How to Set Sales Appointments Over the Phone?

If you decide not to outsource your appointment setting, you need to design a process to match your goals. These are the general steps on how to set sales appointments over the phone:

Step #1: Collect information about your prospects

Your SDRs must invest time in prospect research before calling the lead. Lead research is the process of gathering essential information about the prospect to support outreach. Examples include:

  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Job title
  • Location
  • Industry

Step #2: Outline a message

Your SDRs must outline the benefits of the products and services they represent. To do so, they must be familiar with the company’s sales playbook and value proposition. SalesRoads CEO David Kreiger underlines the importance of this in this video:

Step #3: Warm-up

Jumping into a call without a good foundation could be awkward, or even disastrous. This is why it’s highly recommended your SDRs practice their pitch before reaching out.They can warm up the lead using different channels like emails or reaching out to them through social media platforms.  

Step #4: Make the call

After making all the necessary preparations, it’s time to make the call. During the call, appointment setting representatives must quickly generate interest and close the appointment. This is where their previous practice plays to their advantage.

How to Set More Sales Appointments Over the Phone

Booking sales appointments is a numbers game. The more sales calls you make, the more chances you have to book appointments that are essential to growing your company’s revenue. 

Here are some tips on how to book more sales appointments over the phone: 

Personalize your sales calls

Appointment setters can use scripts on their calls. However, they should be careful not to can come off as ‘robotic.’ As it may defeat the purpose of appointment setting, which is to create a human connection with the leads.

setting sales appointments over the phone 2024

An Epsilon survey found that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that offer a personalized experience. 1 The best way to personalize a call is to understand the lead. You can do this by:

  • Looking at their public profiles 
  • Researching them on search engines
  • Browsing their company website 

Personalizing your calls will make the leads feel that the SDRs took time to understand who they are and to get to know their pain points. This is a great start for building a rapport, increasing the likelihood of leads agreeing to an appointment. 

Use simple language

Your SDRs must show that they have excellent knowledge of the products and services they represent, but that doesn’t mean that they should use complicated words. Remember, one of the goals of appointment setting over the phone is to build rapport with the lead, and using words they cannot understand will not help achieve this. 

Offer Options

During your SDR’s call with a lead, it’s highly recommended that they offer options for their convenience. For example, instead of asking “Are you available for a meeting on Tuesday 8 am?”, it would be more effective to ask the lead “Would prefer the meeting to be scheduled on Monday 8 am or on Tuesday 1 pm?”. 

Avoid using yes or no questions

Appointment setting calls are conversations, not interviews, so it’s important to avoid close-ended questions.  Open-ended questions encourage  the leads to give free-form answers, allowing the conversation to be natural and informative. 

Here’s a quick comparison of close-ended and open-ended questions:

setting sales appointments over the phone 2024

Follow up

Another way of booking more sales appointments over the phone is following up on missed appointments. Leads who have previously booked an appointment and missed it have already shown great interest. There’s a high chance that most of these leads would be interested in rebooking if you connect with them again. 

Bottom Line

Appointment setting over the phone optimizes the sales pipeline by qualifying leads and improving efficiency of Account Executives (AEs). By applying the tips above, businesses can increase their appointments and bolster revenue growth.

Are you looking for a reputable appointment setting service to fill your sales pipeline with high-quality leads? SalesRoads is here to help. Get in touch with us today and discover new growth opportunities for your business. 


  1. https://www.epsilon.com/us/about-us/pressroom/new-epsilon-research-indicates-80-of-consumers-are-more-likely-to-make-a-purchase-when-brands-offer-personalized-experiences